updated 9/29/2006 4:29:34 PM ET 2006-09-29T20:29:34

It wasn’t “Snakes on a Plane,” but an Austrian Airlines jet made an unscheduled stop Friday after a passenger sneaked a hamster aboard and the rodent escaped.

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The flight from Palma de Mallorca, Spain, to the southern Austrian city of Graz made a stop in Innsbruck so officials could search for the hamster and make sure it didn’t gnaw through any wiring, the airline said.

It said the flight was diverted after a passenger notified the crew that he had brought a hamster aboard and had lost track of it. Passengers were ordered off the plane, and some were taken by bus to Graz. It was not immediately clear how many people were aboard.

By midafternoon, a search of the aircraft still had not turned up any sign of the hamster, authorities said.

Austrian Airlines said the jet would remain grounded until the hamster was found “because it can’t take off that way for safety reasons.”

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